Massimiliano Allegri says he is under no illusions of the importance of Sunday evening’s meeting with Fiorentina, an encounter which affords the Bianconeri an excellent opportunity to close the gap on Paulo Sousa’s second-placed outfit.
Five Serie A wins on the spin have shot Juventus back into the chasing pack following a slow domestic start to the season, and Allegri knows a win tomorrow would put the top three in sight by Christmas.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, he said: “The game represents a crucial junction in our season. Winning would allow us to keep making up ground and we want to still be fighting on all fronts come March.”
According to Allegri, the key to overcoming an outfit he believes is good value for its current league position lies in a combination of football on the front foot and full focus.
The latter aspect drew particular attention from the manager, who was quick to warn against the lapses in concentration he believed cost Juventus dear in their midweek Champions League meeting with Sevilla.
“We need to set about them tomorrow night and avoid any dips in focus, as we saw on Tuesday in Seville. We put in a good performance but didn’t use the ball well in three or four situations and conceded from one of them. That’s what happens when you drop your guard in Europe.
“Fiorentina play fine football and combine skill with aggression. Whether they’re genuine title contenders or not we’ll see in the next few months, but they’re fully worthy of their league placing as things stand.”
Positive news from the treatment table came when the Tuscan tactician confirmed that five faces are due to return to the matchday squad from the visit of the Viola, while there were also individual discussions on Daniele Rugani and Alvaro Morata before today’s press conference drew to a close.
He added: “Khedira, Mandzukic, Evra, Padoin and Zaza are all expected to be in my squad for tomorrow. Rugani will have the opportunity to play between now and Christmas, while Morata put in a good display in Seville, regardless of the fact that he didn’t find the net.”